Down-to-earth, resourceful heroine Justus ""Juice"" Faulstich doesn't like going to school. She'd rather spend the day with her out-of-work father, or helping her mother, who's expecting her sixth child. Even though she's only nine, Juice believes she is more useful at home; secretly, she's afraid that someone will find out that she can hardly read. When Pa receives a letter explaining that they may lose their house because of past-due taxes, and Juice's older sister has to read it, Juice realizes that she's not the only one in the family with a secret. The struggling Faulstich family's strength and the atmospheric details of rural life lend the story a timeless, sturdy quality. This poignant story of love and endurance has a lot to say; fittingly, it never shouts.